O'malley Open To 2nd Stimulus

Governor Backs Funding For State's Infrastructure Repairs

July 09, 2009|By Paul West | Paul West,paul.west@baltsun.com

WASHINGTON - -Gov. Martin O'Malley said Wednesday that a second economic stimulus package might be needed if the U.S. economy fails to recover, but it's too soon to know yet.

"I think it's too early for us to say that right now," said the Democratic governor, while expressing support for the idea of more infrastructure spending by the federal government.

O'Malley made the remarks after testifying before the House Oversight Committee, which is monitoring the first stimulus plan.

President Barack Obama, who signed the stimulus into law about four months ago, isn't ruling another stimulus in or out at this point, his spokesman, Robert Gibbs, told reporters aboard Air Force One.

Obama economic adviser Laura Tyson called this week for more stimulus spending, because, she said, the economy was in worse shape than initially forecast and the first dose was "a bit too small." House Democratic Leader Steny H. Hoyer of Southern Maryland said Congress needs to be open to "additional action."

Democratic Gov. Edward G. Rendell of Pennsylvania, who testified along with O'Malley and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, said he favors a second stimulus measure devoted to spending on infrastructure, such as highway projects, that can be funded relatively quickly. Others calling for more stimulus have said it should go only to direct aid to individuals, such as additional unemployment assistance, which finds its way into the economy even faster.

Rising unemployment is prompting the calls for more stimulus spending. The jobless rate hit 9.5 per cent in June, the worst level in more than 25 years. In Maryland, the latest unemployment figure was 7.2 percent in May, up from 5.4 per cent at the end of 2008.

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